Sauerkraut, Pork and Dumplings – a New Year’s Day tradition


Many people around the world believe, or at least, hold to tradition, that by eating certain foods on the first day of the new year, they will be blessed with good fortune throughout the year. I’m not sure if I believe in such things, but I do love good food, so why not start off the new year right with the possibility of good luck?

Being raised by southern parents (my mom from Georgia, and my dad from Alabama), my traditional New Year’s Day dinner while growing up wasn’t complete without black-eyed peas and stewed tomatoes. I’m even making some today, but I’m the only one who will eat them as hubby and kids don’t like them.

However, my family LOVES a German traditional comfort food: Sauerkraut, Pork and Dumplings with cut up hot dogs.  Being German and living in Germany for 2 years, I love this big old pot of yumminess and can’t wait to get it cooking on the stove.

In Germany, it is believed that eating sauerkraut on New Year’s Eve or day will bring blessings of wealth for the new year, at least as much as the number of shreds of cabbage in the pot. That, my friends, is a lot of wealth!  I know I sure could use any portion of that the universe and the good Lord can spare.

The pork is a symbol of good luck, well-being, and health. Germans like to pair up their sauerkraut with different types of pork dishes, ranging from schnitzel (which I love) to bratwurst to roast.  I use the latter for my traditional dinner.

I like to start out with a 5 – 6 lb boneless pork butt and four bags of Silver Floss Sauerkraut.  I only use Silver Floss for this recipe as it is the only one that adds the bite I like to the dish. I’ve tried off brands, natural, organic, unpasteurized (which I normally prefer any other time), but Silver Floss never fails to provide the flavor I’m looking for.

I then coat the pork with flour, salt and petter, then brown on all sides until I have nice, golden sear.

I then drain the fat, cover the meat with water, and dump in all the sauerkraut.

Once smothered in goodies, I bring this to a boil for about 2 minutes, then cover, reduce heat, and let simmer the entire day, at least 6 hours.

About 1/2 hour before we’re ready to eat, I cut up two packs of hot dogs into bite-size pieces and dump into the broth. Next I make my dumplings. I cheat and use Bisquick and the recipe is on the box. I have found after numerous times of making this dish, however, that it helps to remove the meat prior to dropping the dumplings in the broth. The box also says to bring the broth to rapid boil before dropping in the dumplings. If you want the dumplings to hold together, I suggest a slight, gentle boil. That way the dumplings stay high and fluffy.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the dumplings right now as I’m just starting this for the day; however, I might amend the post later on this evening to show you what mine look like.

And there you have it. My Pork, Sauerkraut Good Luck New Year’s Day dinner.

Do you have good luck foods you eat on New Year’s Day?

Go ahead, squeeze the corn


I was at the store the other day and was in the process of picking some fresh ears of corn (4/$1) when this gentleman from Nova Scotia (he told me that’s where he was from) approached and asked me how I cooked my corn.

I laughed because I love random conversations like this.  I told him I either grill it or boil it unless a recipe calls for the corn to come off the cob before cooking. He smiles and says, “So I don’t know you and you don’t know me, do you mind if I share a trick?”

“Of course not,” I reply, and of course, I don’t. I’m always looking for new ways to cook.

“Leave the corn in the husk,” he says, “and put it in the microwave for 4  minutes.  When done, take it out and use an oven mitt because it will be hot.  Cut a tad off the big end of the corn while still in the husk, and then squeeze the corn from the small end and push it out.  It will come out without any strings and it will be very juicy and tender.”

I gave him my thank you’s and we went our separate ways.  Last night, I looked at those ears of corn and thought, “Hmm, I wonder if the Nova Scotia way really works.”

I put the four ears of corn still in their husks in the microwave for 14 minutes and when they were done, I did as he said.  I cut about a 1/16 of an inch off the big end, just enough to slide the corn out of the husk, and then I squeezed.  To my amazement, the corn slid right out with not one string attached.  The corn was moist, and so, so sweet.

Thanks to a man from Nova Scotia, I will never strip my corn husks and boil my cobs ever again.

And on that note, I’m going to squeeze some more corn.  🙂